Sauchiehall Street Avenue, the first of Glasgow’s Avenues project, part of a £115million redevelopment programme, is now complete. The Avenues programme is a place-making scheme that is transforming 17 key streets and adjacent areas in Glasgow city centre through the introduction of an improved environment that will rebalance how people get around, introduce green and smart infrastructure, with its design placing people firmly at the heart of the project. Sauchiehall Street Avenue is the pilot scheme for the Avenues projects across the city centre.

Street trees and green infrastructure

Along with a number of key features that benefit both pedestrians and cyclists a single avenue of well established street trees provide a focus for the redevelopment with 26 trees planted along Sauchiehall Avenue. Whilst many city centres have avenue trees, most of these are of a formal uniform, single species, single variety type. Glasgow City Council was seeking to deliver a flourishing Avenue that would emulate a natural environment, with an all-season appeal and colour year-round, as well as taking account of the city’s flood protection requirementsThe street trees form part of a Sustainable Urban Drainage Solution, allowing water to run off from paving, go over tree pit and finds its way below at a controlled rate into the sewers. 

Key features of Sauchiehall Avenue also include new, high-quality, public realm; enhanced and widened pavements that free up space for pedestrians and licensed tables and chairs; a new dual way segregated cycle paths; new bus shelters, cycle stands, and seating; intelligent street lighting and ‘smart’ surface water management infrastructure. 

Tree selection and planting

Working with idverde uk, the trees were specially selected for their colour and interest and suitability for the Glasgow climate. They also are proven to be Dutch elm disease-resistant, avoid lateral spread at road intersections and less are attractive to aphids to avoid residue dropping - a bonus for people relaxing under them on the new benches. The species selected were Acer platanoides Deborah, Acer campestre William Caldwell, Ulmus Columella, Carpinus betula Fastigiata and Ginkgo biloba. idverde UK also created a bespoke solution for the design and installation of the load bearing soil cells to ensure that the trees are structurally sound and soil and root systems remain healthy for years to come. They trialled the first engineered designs off-site to test the design principles and programme predictability. Trees were selected 18 months in advance and air-potted to generate healthy fibrous roots. They manufactured a root zone, matching closely with the trees’ indigenous soil, and used manufactured, sterilised soil to give the best possible health for the trees to grow.

Future green Avenues and consultation

For the Argyle Street Avenue where the green infrastructure focus is more on rain gardens £2million of the Scottish Natural Heritage's ERDF green infrastructure fund has been secured. Public consultations on the Avenues designs are being phased over the period 2018 to 2022. there is no active consultation at the moment but you can see all the initial design proposals for all of those streets on Glasgow City Council's website.

Glasgow City Deal

As the first City Deal Region in Scotland, Glasgow is seeking to demonstrate the importance of good landscape design, civil engineering innovation and structural design in achieving a sustainable urban greening and flood protection vision. The Avenues project is funded by the Glasgow City Region City Deal. Both the UK and Scottish Governments are providing the Glasgow City Region local authorities with £500million each in grant funding for the Glasgow City Region City Deal.